Pubdate: Sun, 10 Feb 2002
Source: News Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2002 The News Herald
Author: Wayne Burke
Bookmark: (Treatment)


In ruling that judges can sentence drug addicts to treatment rather than 
prison, the state Supreme Court said, "This result is consistent with the 
actual statutory language and strong policy considerations that treatment, 
not incarceration, is the most effective and most cost-efficient way to 
break the cycle of drugs and crime."

For each of the last 10 years, more prison inmates have been admitted for 
drug offenses than any other charge. Last year, nearly 29 percent of those 
who entered Florida prisons had been convicted of drug offenses.

According to the Department of Corrections, 70.5 percent of the offenders 
who completed drug treatment in locked facilities remained out of prison 
after two years. Of offenders who completed treatment outside prison, 77.5 
percent remained out of prison after two years.

However, our Republican Legislature chooses to ignore these findings and 
eliminates treatment in prisons and reduces the number of beds available in 
the public sector.

It doesn't seem to matter that without treatment, many of these addicts, 
when released, will probably soon re-offend and will be back in the system 
at $20,000 per year each. If judges had sentenced nonviolent offenders to 
treatment, imagine all the money that could be saved.

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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager